Farah Baker, A Gaza Teenager, Becomes Social Media Phenomenon By Tweeting About War

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While the U.S. and other Western countries have classified the group as terrorists, Baker supports Hamas, saying that it defends people.

While Israel and Hamas take a step back from the weeks-long violence in Gaza, which has claimed more than a thousand lives, a Palestinian teenager has risen to prominence on Twitter for capturing the turmoil and fear around her Gaza neighborhood through her posts, which went viral last week.

Farah Baker, 16, who lives with her parents and two younger sisters, has become a social media phenomenon as the number of her followers on Twitter has jumped from 800 to 167,000 in the last few days of the conflict, which began more than a month ago. Baker, whose home is near Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, has drawn social media users eager to track the conflict with the help of evocative posts, including video coverage of the daily air strikes and shelling attacks, and the blaring sirens of hospital vehicles, Reuters reported.

“I am trying to tell the world about what I feel and what is happening where I live,” Baker told Reuters at her Gaza home. According to her, she has been “trying to make other people feel as if they are experiencing it, too.”

Baker, who calls herself “Guess what” (@Farah_Gazan) on Twitter, said that she was surprised to see her following grow as she began posting updates on the micro-blogging site “for a small circle of people.”

In a recent interview with NBC News, Baker talked about her experience after she survived one of the heaviest nights of Israeli airstrikes.

“I used to say that the war in 2008 was the worst it has been, but after last night, I would say that this is the worst because I really felt like I could die at any moment,” Baker told NBC News. “I was really thinking I might die tonight.”

Baker's prolific tweets with a personal touch have drawn a large online audience. According to TwitterCounter.com, she had 4,934 followers on July 23, but that number had grown to around 167,000 on Monday.

While Israel claims that Hamas, which has been branded a terrorist group by the U.S. and the West, has secret rockets hidden in schools and hospitals, and that the group uses civilians as human shields, Baker supports Hamas, saying that it defends people.

“People say that Hamas hides behind people but it doesn't — Hamas defends people,” Baker told NBC News. “I do not want this war to end until we become free, because the blockade is killing us.”

An aspiring lawyer, Baker wants to use her profession to advocate for “impoverished Gaza,” Reuters reported Baker as saying.

Here are some of tweets by Baker:

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